Three dead and six missing as storm Vinta lashes Mindanao

Vinta
Photo of floodwaters by Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong.

At least three people are dead and six missing after tropical storm Vinta lashed the southern Philippines today (Friday, December 22).

Vinta — international name Tembin — unleashed floods and landslides after hitting the island of Mindano with gusts of up to 78mph.

Speaking to Agence France-Presse, Saripada Pacasum, civil defence officer for Lanao del Sur province, said: “We forced hundreds of people to evacuate some villages, but the water rose swiftly and our rescuers cannot reach other areas.

The Philippines lies on the Pacific typhoon belt and endures an average of 20 typhoons and storms each year. Howeer, Mindanao is usually spared the worst of their effects.

A landslide buried several houses in the town of Tugaya and killed two children. Five other people are believed to be trapped beneath the rubble, Mr Pacasum said.

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Another landslide buried four houses in the city of Valencia, killing an elderly woman, said the city’s civil defence officer Junrey Vallejo.

Police and civil defence officials reported heavy flooding in several Mindanao towns and cities as Vinta weakened and swiftly moved into the Sulu Sea.

Photos shared by rescuers on social media showed rampaging, mud-brown floodwaters sweeping down a highway in Lanao del Sur province, engulfing houses and vehicles. Footage also shows people sitting out the floods on the upper floors of their homes.

Pacasum, the provincial civil defense officer, said among the flooded areas was the city of Marawi, recovering from five months of fighting between troops and Islamic militants that left more than 1,100 people dead earlier this year.

Police also reported widespread flooding in Cagayan de Oro, one of Mindanao’s largest cities.

Electricity has been cut across large swathes of the island.

Vinta comes hard on the heels of  tropical storm Urduja — international Kai-Tak — which devastated the central Philippines, leaving more than 54 dead and 24 missing.

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